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The Presumption of Negligence in Rear-End Car Crashes

by onMay 01, 2018

Rear-end collisions are one of the most commonly occurring types of car accidents in Ohio. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that around one-third of all car accidents are rear-end collisions. Fortunately, many of these kinds of car accidents occur at low speeds, although this does not mean that they don’t result in thousands of injuries on a yearly basis. To speak with an experienced car accident attorney about recovering damages for your own rear-end crash, please contact one of our experienced car accident attorneys for a free case evaluation.

What is the Presumption of Negligence?

Generally, injured parties can only recover damages for injuries suffered in a car accident, if they can prove that someone else was responsible. However, in Ohio, like in many other states, the rear driver in a collision is automatically presumed to be negligent. This is largely because all drivers are required to maintain a safe speed and following distance and colliding with a car in front of you is considered to be indicative of negligence. In fact, one of a driver’s duties is to leave enough space between his or her own vehicle and the vehicles of others to ensure that in the event that the front vehicle suddenly stops or slows down, the driver in the rear will have enough room to stop.

Overcoming the Presumption of Negligence

It is possible to overcome this presumption by introducing evidence that contradicts the plaintiff’s version of events or proves that the collision could not have been avoided. Some of the most common scenarios in which the presumption is overcome include situations where:

  • The driver in the front suddenly reverses;
  • A road hazard or adverse weather condition made it impossible to avoid the collision;
  • The lead driver made an illegal or improper stop; or
  • The lead driver’s brake lights were non-functioning.

Fortunately, even when a rear driver is unable to completely overcome the presumption of negligence, he or she could still be eligible to recover damages. This is because Ohio is a comparative negligence state, which means that plaintiffs are not barred from recovery even if they were partially at fault for an accident, as long as they were not 50 percent or more responsible for the accident. Instead, the amount that an injured party can collect will be reduced in proportion to his or her level of fault in causing the crash.

Call Today for a Free Consultation

Although rear drivers who are involved in collisions are usually presumed to be negligent, it is not impossible to overcome this presumption and demonstrate that the lead driver was actually at fault. However, it can be difficult, especially for those who do not have legal representation, so if you were involved in a car accident and were in the rear vehicle, please call Lafferty, Gallagher & Scott, LLC at 419-241-5500 to schedule a consultation with a dedicated car accident lawyer who can explain your legal options.

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